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From Green Bay Southwest to St. Norbert College

Pyletski played in all 28 games for the Green Knights and averaged 6.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. St. Norbert Athletics photo

Pytleski named Division III Private School Men’s Newcomer of the Year

By Rich Palzewic

Contributing Writer

DE PERE – As a major contributor to the Green Bay Southwest High School boys’ basketball team throughout his four-year career (2019-23), Connor Pytleski made quite the impact for the Trojans, scoring more than 1,500 career points.

Recently completing his freshman season at St. Norbert College (SNC), Pytleski took that same mentality and hard work to the collegiate level.

For the 2023-24 season, Pytleski was named the Division III Private School Men’s Newcomer of the Year by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association.

He played in all 28 games for the Green Knights, averaging 6.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.

Pytleski also shot 52% (26-of-50) from beyond the three-point arc, which led the team.

“(SNC Coach) Gary (Grzesk) called me one day and said I received the award,” Pytleski said. “He nominated me, and I won. I was surprised — I didn’t know the award was a thing, so it felt good to receive it.”

Pytleski said he was pleased with his first season in a Green Knights uniform.

“I knew coming how good of a program St. Norbert is, and they basically lost only one starter from last year’s team,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to play much – I thought maybe if a few players were dealing with injuries, I might get some time. I prepared all fall, and when that first game came against Ripon, one of our guys got into foul trouble. I ended up playing like 18 minutes – from there, I knew I had a shot at getting significant time during the season. Coming into the season, I thought I’d be a good teammate, sit on the end of the bench and celebrate with my team. This season was a little more than I expected.”

Green Bay Southwest High School graduate Connor Pytleski, now playing basketball at St. Norbert College, was recently named the Division III Private School Men’s Newcomer of the Year by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association. St. Norbert Athletics photo

Pytleski scored a season-high 16 points on two occasions — once on Dec. 30 against Dubuque — where he nailed four three-pointers — and another on Jan. 27 versus Aurora.

He also scored in double digits on four other occasions.

“I was most surprised at how well I shot the ball this season, especially from three-point range,” Pytleski said. “I was a decent three-point shooter in high school but not quite this good. That helped my confidence and put confidence in the coaches.”

Despite having such a good freshman season, Pytleski said there are plenty of things to work on this offseason.

“Coach Grzesk and St. Norbert stress defense, so it’s all about getting stronger and faster this offseason,” he said. “I also need to work on my turnover-to-assist ratio — I have to take better care of the ball.”

Pytleski said the college game “is a lot different than high school.”

“It’s a lot faster with the shot clock and more physical,” he said. “There is a lot more grabbing and pushing (in the college game) and not as many fouls being called. Especially as a freshman, I don’t think I got a lot of calls compared to my senior year at Southwest.”

The Green Knights will lose three seniors from this year’s squad, including starters Evan Glaser (12.8 points per game) and Carter Gebler (12.3) — something that should help Pytleski grab more playing time next year.

“It was fun playing on a winning team this season,” Pytleski said. “It was a great way to start my college career.”

The Green Knights finished 22-6 and made it to the championship game of the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference before falling to Wisconsin Lutheran College, 78-62.

A few words from coach

Grzesk also had nothing but praise for Pytleski.

“The most impressive thing about Connor was how consistent he was,” Grzesk said. “Many freshmen either hit a wall or have ups and downs. That never happened with him. He had several big offensive games that helped when our offense was struggling. He’s physically strong, which helped him finish around the basket.”

Grzesk said he was also impressed by Pytleski’s shooting percentage.

“He shot even better than what I anticipated,” he said. “Shooting 52% from three-point land and 57% overall, that had to do with his good shot selection.”

Having a year of college under his belt, Grzesk said he’s looking forward to seeing the jump Pytleski will make next season.

“At Southwest, he always jumped right from football to basketball,” he said. “In college, he had all fall to work on his game and prepare for the season. I’m looking forward to next year with him.”

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